BEST OF JODY’S BOX: OUR SISTER OF THE PERPETUAL PAYMENT HOSPITAL


Jody at the 1980 Mexican Supercross Championships.

By Jody Weisel

Double jumps are like a Rubik’s cube—frustrating to master, easy to do once you do it and something you’ll never waste your time worrying again; however, dealing with doubles is an integral part of our sport. I don’t mean jumping them. I mean coming up with answers to questions about how to jump them. Or whether or not you jumped them. I wanna say right up front, I gave up jumping doubles decades ago. But, I haven’t given up lying about jumping them yet.

At the riders meeting: “Jody, did you see the new double on the back straight?” asked Jimmy Mac.

“Yeah, it looks like a fourth-gear, wide-open affair,” I said. “The face is good, and the second jump has a rounded-off top. It will be easy.” In reality, it was the scariest jump I’d ever seen. The face of the jump went straight up. There was room to park a Buick Roadmaster towing an Airstream trailer between the two jumps, and the landing ramp was steeper than the emergency exit on a Boeing 737.

After the first practice: “Jody, did you jump the double in the first practice?” asked Jimmy Mac.

“No, I never got a clean shot at it,” I answered.  “There was always somebody in front of me. I’m gonna do it in the second practice.” The truth was, I tried as hard as I could to jump that big fourth-gear double by going at it wide open in second gear. I knew that I couldn’t jump a fourth-gear double in second gear, but I also knew that I’d land safely between the two jumps if I stayed in second.

After the second practice: “Jody, what gear were you in at the big double?” asked Jimmy Mac.

“I was totally tapped in fourth gear,” I said. Luckily, he didn’t ask me whether or not I had jumped it, because the best I could do was jump the first jump in second and then shift up to third on the way up the face of the second jump before shifting to fourth gear as I went over the top. Embarrassed by my failure to jump the big double in the second practice session, I decided to hit it in third gear in the first moto.

“THAT IS WHEN LOVELY LOUELLA SAID, “JUST DO THEM ONE AT A TIME. THAT WAY YOU WILL LIVE TO CELEBRATE MY BIRTHDAY NEXT WEEK. I LOVE DIAMONDS.”

Deep in my college-educated brain, I knew that third wouldn’t do the job, but I felt that if someone was watching from behind, at least it would look like I jumped it. I hadn’t counted on smacking the take-off ramp of the second jump, hurting both of my wrists and leaving an imprint of my goggle frame on my forehead. That is when Lovely Louella walked over and said, “Just do them one at a time. That way you will live to celebrate my birthday next week. I love diamonds.”

After the first moto: “Jody, did you clear the big double in the first moto?” asked Jimmy Mac.

“Yeah, I jumped it, but I never cleared it clean.” Okay, I admit that I was stretching the truth, but it wasn’t a big lie because I had cased the face of the second jump so hard that my bike rebounded over the lip. I should have crashed, but my chest protector caught on my cross-bar and kept me on the bike. And to think I once thought about making the switch to Pro Taper bars.

Before the second moto: “Jody, in the first moto, were you taking off on the right side or left side of the first jump?” asked Jimmy Mac.

“I stayed in the center,” I said. I’m sure that my answer was interpreted to mean that I had left the ground from the middle of the first jump, but what I really meant was that I landed exactly in the center between the two jumps. My actual take-off point was over on the far edge of the track, because whenever I took off anywhere near the good line, I felt like what a rabbit feels when it sees the shadow of a hawk circling overhead.

After the second moto: “Jody, how did you do in the second moto?”

“I got a massive holeshot and led the first lap, but I faded and five guys got me before the finish,” I said. If he’d been paying closer attention to the race, he would have known that the reason I got passed by five guys was because the race was only five laps long. Every time I came to the big jump, somebody would double over me.

As I loaded up my bike: “Jody, where are you racing next weekend?” asked Jimmy Mac.

“I’m thinking of going up to Chicken Licks Raceway. It’s a long drive, but I haven’t been there in months, and I’m getting tired of racing at the same old track week in and week out.” A quick translation was that I wouldn’t be coming back to this track until enough guys were transported to Our Sister of the Perpetual Payment Hospital for missing the big double and the promoter mowed it down. In case you haven’t guessed already, Chicken Licks doesn’t have any doubles.

Later that night with Louella: “Jody, have you decided where we are going to go next week?” asked Lovely Louella.

“I was thinking about going to Chicken Licks Raceway,” I replied

“No, I mean which jewelry store are you taking me to?” asked Louella. “I’m not leaving the choice of what diamond bracelet to a guy that can’t make his mind up.”

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